Website vs web application – what’s the difference?

When a business wants to form an online presence, they need to either create a website or a web application. To the end user, these are functionally identical and indeed, there is a lot of overlap between them. However, it is important to explore the differences between the two, as there is a lot more to developing a web application than a website.

What is a website?

A website is one or more connected web pages collected under a single domain name. The main purpose of a website is to provide information. There is very little interactivity between the end user and the website, and this usually doesn’t go beyond simply subscribing to a newsletter.

If a business’s main goal is to establish an online presence, provide information and build up a mailing list, then a website is all they need.

What is a web application

A web application is similar to a website in that it can be accessed via a URL through a browser like Edge, Firefox and Chrome on a mobile or desktop device. The main difference between the two is the level of interactivity afforded to the end user.

A web application can provide the functionality of a desktop or mobile application without the need for software to be installed on the end user’s machine. Web apps usually require the user to log in, after which they would be able to perform various actions, such as making online purchases, uploading content, adding friends, editing photos or booking tickets.

Web applications are not just customer-facing. Many businesses use web applications for their workflow and internal processes. We develop this kind of custom software for our customers all the time. They’re more efficient than having software that needs to be downloaded to a device because you can access your system from anywhere, at any time.

What’s the difference?

Websites are static and informational in nature, whereas web applications are dynamic, usually require a login and accept user input. From the perspective of a business looking to implement either one, a website is usually quicker, easier and cheaper to get up and running, but a web application provides more functionality.

Setting up a website is relatively simple, sometimes requiring only a front-end developer and using a platform like WordPress. Web applications, however, require front-end and back-end developers, testers and possibly other IT specialists as well.

If you are interested in developing either a website or a web application for your business, contact the experts at Netgen for a quote today.

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